Canada stagger over the line, but take vital bonus point
Canada completed their second victory of the tri-series against Bermuda in Benoni on Thursday, but after their bowlers had done well to contain the opposition to 178 for nine, the batsmen came close to throwing the game away.
In the end, the win was comfortable enough: the margin was three wickets, and the bonus point for scoring at least 1.25 times faster than the opposition was secured with two balls to spare.
But the Canadian batsmen again showed a disturbing ability to get themselves out when disciplined batting was called for, and they will need to play better than this if they are to secure the victory over The Netherlands tomorrow which they need to keep the competition alive.
After winning the toss and putting Bermuda in, Canada gained a decisive hold on the match in the opening four overs, when Henry Osinde removed Minors, Smith and Hemp to leave the batting side on 18 for three. After two overs Osinde had three for 7, and it should have been four for 8 when Sanjay Thuraisingam - who had already caught both openers - spilled a chance from Irving Romaine.
Romaine and Janeiro Tucker took the score through to 57 before Tucker edged a lifting ball from Umar Bhatti to keeper Bagai in Bhatti's final over. Although this was his first wicket, Bhatti had bowled a lively, hostile spell, exploiting the tendency of the wicket at the northern end to generate uneven bounce, thanks to some significant cracks. He caused Romaine particular difficulty, but it was Tucker who eventually became his first and only victim.
That the Bermudian innings didn't fall apart completely was due to some dogged resistance from Saleem Mukuddem, who held the latter stages together with a well-made 57, coming from 104 balls with four boundaries.
He held out against some controlled spin bowling from Kevin Sandher, who bowled Romaine in taking one for 26 in ten overs, and from George Codrington, whose figures of four for 43 - including, finally, Mukuddem himself - were his best in ODIs and won him the Man of the Match award.
Bermuda needed early wickets if they were to have any chance of pulling off a shck win, and Kevin Hurdle duly secured the breakthrough with 20 on the board, Sandeep Jyoti getting a top edge trying to pull a short ball.
Abdool Samad and Desmond Chumney now put on 66 for the second wicket in just under 16 overs, but they fell victim to spinners Leverock and Durham within four balls of each other, leaving Canada on 86 for three.
Samad's 39 proved to be the highest score of the innings, as wickets fell regularly to indifferent strokes. Leverock removed Qaiser Ali, and when Hurdle returned to the attack he disposed of Ashish Bagai and then, in his final over, of Codrington.
But by this time Canada needed only four runs to win, and with Bhatti stroking the ball well it was only a matter of time.
The winning runs finally came from two wides, and Canada had secured the bonus point with two balls to spare.
Bermuda were again disappointing, and their performances both with the bat and in the field must be giving coach Gus Logie considerable concern.
Canada, on the other hand, could and should have won this match a good deal more comfortably; their bowling was again impressive, but the batting will need to be much more focussed tomorrow if they are to have a realistic chance of beating awell-organised and purposeful Dutch side. And they will need to hold all their catches!